Thursday, 24 April 2014



After returning from twitching my first-ever WHITE STORK in Berkshire (see pix above), I headed for NORTON GREEN again where Darrell Bryant had this time discovered a BLACK REDSTART on his mid-morning walk-round. Arriving at about 3pm, it took me quite a while to locate it, eventually tracing it to some Hawthorns in the far NW corner of the site adjacent to the traveller's camp. It was rather grey on the upperparts perhaps suggesting a first-winter male rather than a female but with no pale wing fringes. It remained on view for a few minutes before disappearing. There had been a further arrival of WHEATEAR overnight, with 7 birds in total including 2 nice GREENLANDERS, while a male WHINCHAT was a nice find - one of four I recorded today. COMMON WHITETHROATS were very conspicuous with at least 5 singing males on site, with 7 or so Linnets and a pair of Red-legged Partridges also encountered. Despite searching, I failed to see the female Ring Ouzel - now present for her third day.

Relocating to AMWELL'S GREAT HARDMEAD LAKE, and arriving at the same time as local birder Jason Ward, I was very pleased to find the REEVE still present for a third day. The bird was showing very well from the lower viewpoint but was constantly pestered by Lapwing and Common Redshank - so much so that she eventually flew to the far island.

EGYPTIAN GOOSE was an Amwell 'tick' for me, with 3 of the 5 recent birds still being present, while other waterfowl present included 5 Great Crested Grebe, 35 Sinensis, 8 Gadwall, 2+ Teal, drake Shoveler, 31 Tufted Duck, 5 Pochard and a lingering drake Eurasian Wigeon. A pair of Oystercatchers was seemingly nesting on the main island at the south end, with 4 Common Redshanks, 45+ Black-headed Gull, the heavily bleached first-year Herring Gull and 8 Common Terns present. A nice selection of warblers now on site with 3+ Cetti's, 3 Sedge, 2 male Common Whitethroat, 2 Common Chiffchaff and 3 Blackcap.

The 3 Egyptian Geese

The heavily worn Herring Gull

 I finished the day at WOODOAKS FARM (MAPLE CROSS) where this stunning male WHINCHAT was gracing the fenceline

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